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Having a successful scriptural marriage isn't an instant, or easy, task. But it can be done. Not by reading a book, but by putting God's principles to work in your marriage day by day, moment by moment for the rest of your life.

To help you do that, I want to give you a simple checklist you can use again and again as you face the challenges ahead. I call them the seven "C's" of a great relationship.

1. Communicate
Communication is the basis of any successful relationship. So, if you aren't already a good communicator, become one. Then, deliberately schedule in time for that communication to take place. If you don't, it won't happen and your marriage will suffer.

2. Cover One Another
First Peter 4:8 says, "...above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins." If you truly love your spouse, you won't expose, humiliate, or condemn them whenever they make a mistake; you will cover them.

Wives, you won't point your finger at your husband and tell how often he fails to pray or how carnal he is much of the time. And husbands, you won't point your finger at your wife and tell how much she nags. No. You'll cover each other's weaknesses.

You'll cover with gentleness even when harshness may seem justified. You'll cover by being patient, even when you want to snap a rebuke. You'll cover by praying for each other, when it would be a whole lot easier to walk out. Cover each other with love.

3. Cherish One Another
Ephesians 5:29 says, "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church." The word cherish there literally means, "to feel or show affection."

Affection is the outward display of tender emotion one to another. And if you didn't know, it is the wife's number one need. But, men, it is important for you as well.

You see, affection will give you the emotional impetus you need to continue acting in love even when things are rough. It is the glue that will bond you together in good times and bad. You're not going to be able to give to someone day after day if you don't feel any affection for them. So make it a priority to develop - and display - affection.

4. Comfort One Another
Comfort is a vitally important element that enables us to stand successfully against the devil in every area of our lives. It makes it easier for us to be patient.
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
(2 Cor. 1:3)
For example, imagine a guy who is stuck in traffic. He is late for an appointment, but he can't move until the car in front of him moves. His car is in terrible shape. The exhaust is leaking, the windows are rolled down and it's 100 degrees outside. Mosquitoes are all over the place.

It is going to be much harder for that fellow to be patient than it will for the fellow behind him who is sitting in an air-conditioned Cadillac with his windows rolled up and a good faith message on the CD player.

You are intended by God to be your spouse's greatest source of comfort. You're the one to bring them tenderness when they're hurt, words of hope when they're discouraged, and companionship when it seems the whole world has forsaken them. If you'll do it, you will go a long way in giving your spouse the staying power he or she needs to win out over the devil in trying times.

5. Compel One Another
Hebrews 10:24-25 instructs us to:
Consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works...exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Again, just as you're to be the greatest source of comfort to your spouse, you're also to be the one God primarily uses to compel them toward love and good works. You're to be the one who encourages them to greater heights in the Lord. Don't nag. Urge one another. Inspire one another. Keep yourselves from becoming weary in well doing by reminding each other that harvest time is coming (See Galatians 6:9).

6. Consult With One Another
Amos 3:3 asks a simple but profound question: "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" The answer is "No."

Agreement is a foundational principle of relationship success. Violate that principle and strife will see to it that your marriage will eventually fail. So consult with each other until you can agree.

Remember, when you get married, you married someone who filled your needs. That person is your balance. He or she is God's gift, specifically designed to help keep you from making mistakes. Don't squander that gift.

7. Cleave One to Another
Never lose sight of the need you have for each other.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
(Gen. 2:24)
Always remember that your spouse completes you in a way no one else can. No friend, no child, no parent, and no pet - as wonderful as they may be - can do more for you than your spouse.

So cleave to that one alone. Pursue the marriage relationship with a singular determination that will eventually make you one flesh - not just in concept, but in fact.

There they are, the seven "C's" of a great relationship. Study them. Think about them. But most by them. And discover the riches God has prepared for those who dare to become "heirs together in the grace of life."

Source: Heirs Together by Mac Hammond
Excerpt permission granted by Living Word International

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.

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